USA embassy in Turkey temporarily closes due to security threat

The detentions came as the U.S. Embassy in Ankara was closed on Monday due to an unspecified security threat. However, it was not clear if these arrests were linked to the threat against the U.S. Embassy.

On March 5, the US Embassy in Ankara will be closed to visitors in connection with a security threat, a statement published by the press service of the US embassy to Turkey said.

Embassy spokesman David Gainer said the mission would open on Tuesday but would not provide visa services or services to American citizens - in an apparent measure aimed at limiting visits and minimizing risks to the public. "The embassy has shared intelligence with the Turkish intelligence service and security forces", Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, the government's main spokesman, told a news conference.

The Ankara prosecutor said 12 suspects had been detained after it issued 20 arrest warrants as part of an operation against IS, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Several digital documents were seized in the operation, the agency reported.

Though the relationship between the US and Turkey has recently been tested, Turkey says the embassy's closure isn't political.

He added that they were detained for the attempt of luring people to the extremist group and reportedly were communicating with people in "conflict zones".

Turkish authorities have detained several suspects on charges of plotting an attack.

The U.S. Embassy was the target of a suicide bombing in 2013 by a militant from the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which killed a Turkish security guard.

The Turkish capital saw a wave of attacks in 2015 and 2016 in which hundreds were killed.

Additionally, 4,043 terrorist fighters, including 1,858 foreigners, were also detained and 61,158 people from 148 countries were barred from entering Turkey and 6,151 were caught and extradited between 2011 and 2018. An attack at a luxury Istanbul nightclub during New Year celebrations on January 1, 2017, killed 39 people.

  • Tracy Klein